“And you did it quite well twice,” replied Marvin Putnam, an attorney for entertainment giant AEG.
Panish denied doing any such thing but added, “If he wants me to give him the finger, I’m happy to do that.”
The trial over whether a division of one of America’s most powerful entertainment conglomerates is liable in the death of a legendary pop star has been filled with testimony about Jackson’s drug use, his physical and mental deterioration and his growing fears as a comeback tour approached.
But the other drama may well be the bruising war of words between the two lead attorneys, one an Ivy League product * who worked in France and the other a Fresno State grad who attended school on a football scholarship.
The two lawyers have snipped, argued, shouted, rolled their eyes, bumped shoulders in the courtroom doorway and once got into such a combative argument in the hallway that the court clerk stepped into the corridor to tell them to cool it; an order they promptly ignored.
For more than four months, the lawyers have taken daily shots at each other as jurors and spectators looked on, often in amusement, a sideshow that can be as riveting as some of the testimony.
The day after the argument in the corridor, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos called the two attorneys into her chambers again and told them they would be sanctioned if their behavior didn’t improve. Putnam called Panish “despicable” and refused to shake his hand. “Where I’m from,” he said, “handshakes mean something.”
With closing arguments in the long-running trial expected to start Tuesday, jurors and court spectators will get a final glimpse of two attorneys who seem to share little except an open disdain for each other.
“I can’t think of a case where there’s been so much animosity,” said Panish, a veteran of more than 100 trials. “When I say good morning to them, they don’t even say good morning back.”
The stakes in the wrongful-death case are high, with one witness calculating that the pop star could have earned as much as $1.5 billion had he lived. But neither attorney, nor their law firms, is a foreigner when it comes to staggering sums of money.
AEG Live is represented by O’Melveny & Myers, a 128-year-old firm with 800 attorneys in 16 offices worldwide and a client list that includes Time Warner, Citigroup and Lockheed Martin. Its lawyers have served as U.S. secretary of State, secretary of Transportation and White House counsel.
The Jackson legal team is led by Panish, Shea and Boyle, which has one office and 15 lawyers. The firm has won 20 jury verdicts of $10 million or more, and its $4.9-billion judgment against General Motors, which a judge cut to $1.2 billion, was the largest personal injury verdict ever. The firm has done well enough to have an ownership interest in two airplanes.
Both Panish and Putnam are listed in the top 100 lawyers in California by the Daily Journal, but almost everything about their firms is different, from the attorneys they hire to their clients. Even the way they dress is different.
The O’Melveny & Myers attorneys look as though they were issued uniforms in colors ranging from black to dark gray. Jessica Stebbins Bina has worn black pantsuits every day of the nearly five months of trial. Contrast that with Deborah Chang, of the Jackson team, who has questioned witnesses while wearing a lime green coat, dangling earrings and high heels.
The O’Melveny team, nearly all Ivy Leaguers*, is led by Putnam, a trim, balding man who grew up in Maine, attended Phillips Exeter and Harvard before earning his law degree at Georgetown. His wife, another Harvard grad, is executive director of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute and was president of production for Miramax Films.
Panish, the son of a lawyer, is heavyset with a full head of graying black hair. He attended Catholic schools, went to Fresno State on a football scholarship and received his law degree from Southwestern Law School.
Panish was recommended to the Jackson family by Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., who defended the pop star when he was tried on child molestation charges in 2005. “I told the family Brian Panish was the best plaintiff’s civil trial lawyer in L.A. and that no one else comes close,” Mesereau said.
Even the way the firms are paid underscores their differences.
Putnam’s firm usually charges by the hour, and its lawyers get paid whether they win or lose. O’Melveny already has earned millions from the Jackson-AEG case.
Attorneys like Panish are more entrepreneurial. Each case is an investment, which is why his firm agrees to take fewer than 1% of those that come its way. “You have to be a risk taker to be a personal injury attorney,” said Jody Armour, a professor at USC’s Gould School of Law. “More of a swashbuckler by personality.”
They usually are paid a portion of their clients’ winnings, as much as 40%, and shell out the money for experts and other costs. If they lose, not only do they not get paid, they could be out a lot of money for their expenses.
“The big-firm lawyers get paid per hour,” Panish said, “and we get paid perhaps.”
Though corporate lawyers like Putnam seldom take cases to trial, the courtroom is a second home to personal injury attorneys such as Panish. “Since we filed this Jackson case in 2010, Brian Panish by himself has tried more cases to verdict than the entire team of O’Melveny lawyers working on this case have tried in their careers,” said Kevin Boyle, Panish’s partner.
During a recent week-long break in the Jackson trial, Panish was part of the legal team that won a $17-million verdict for an 85-year-old man whose leg was amputated below the knee after he was hit by a bus.
By the time a case like Jackson vs. AEG gets to trial, said John Nockleby, director of the Civil Justice Program at Loyola Law School, the two sides have already spent months squabbling over schedules, depositions, and expert witnesses.
“When the stakes are huge, as they are in this case, there are enormous pressures on lawyers to perform, to win these battles,” he said.
Over the course of the trial, Putnam has directed several pointed accusations at Panish, saying he had “defamed a number of people inside the courtroom and outside the courtroom” and was telling reporters lies.
Putnam declined to be interviewed for this story.
On the other side, Boyle said that O’Melveny has gone out of its way to make things difficult, not even offering the usual professional courtesies, such as the scheduling of depositions or making simple agreements. O’Melveny wouldn’t stipulate that Jackson was dead until after the trial had begun.
Asked if O’Melveny looked down on them, Boyle replied, “They certainly act that way. It seems a very coordinated effort of smugness.”
Panish remains angry that Putnam accused his firm of leaking sealed emails to The Times. “I’m not happy about our integrity being challenged.” Panish said.
Panish said he’s gone against O’Melveny before without any problems.
“I don’t have any issue with the law firm,” he said. “Mr. Putnam doesn’t like us. There’s not much we can do about it. Everybody in the world’s not going to like me.”
*NOTE: The dictionary explains that “Ivy League” does not stand for the Senior staff of one MJJ forum as I initially thought, but has a special meaning of its own:
Only several hours have passed and the heroic TeamMichaelJackson is already posting the rebuttal by Mr. Panish on the third day of the parties’ closing arguments. Here is the video:
I have partially transcribed the beginning of Mr. Panish’s rebuttal and then Suparna helped me (my big thanks to her):
Before you point the finger you’ve got to look in the mirror at yourself. AEG looks in the mirror at themselves and they say “Everything we did is fine”. And they want you to believe Mr. Gongaware’s and Mr. Phillips’ story in this trial… and want you to disregard all the other evidence.
They did a lot of talk but they never walked the walk. And how do they come here and don’t accept responsibility and put it all on Michael, Mrs. Jackson, Karen Faye, Alif Sankey – everybody but them?
And responsibility, it does not stop at the boardroom. Corporate responsibility is supposed to be carried out throughout our society. And the social order.
When you are in the money making business there are certain responsibilities imposed on you by the law, and when you get involved in a situation like this you have certain responsibilities. They are not imposed by me. they are imposed by the law of the state of California, and you are responsible, socially and legally, to act appropriately.
And what they did is that they didn’t act appropriately.
Let’s talk about some of the things their counsels said yesterday. “All they were trying to do was put on a concert.” They don’t care about Michael Jackson… He admitted it, because it is true. All they are about is putting on a concert deriving the benefit.
And remember – they got all their money back, made a movie and more. They came up fine!
AEG is a money making company and they wanted to make money, they wanted Michael to make money. They didn’t want to help Michael do a comeback. They wanted Michael so that they could make money and that’s why they did it.
Another statement by their counsel: “This case is about choices”. They made their choices. Personal responsibility? But what about corporate responsibility? What about Mr. Phillips and Mr. Gongaware? Where are they? Mt. Trell, their corporate lawyer? Where have they been? Do you really think that they really care about this case? Based on their attitude when they testified and how they testified do you really think that they are worthy of belief in this case?
Are you going to give them a verdict on the basis of what Mr. Phillips and Mr. Gongaware testified – self-serving statements? Are you going to let them get away with this?
They think that they can come down here, big bad AEG and they thought we had an army of lawyers – seven or eight people. They’ve got rows of lawyers, you’ve seen them all. If we’ve got the army, then they’ve got the marines, the navy, the airforce, the coast guards, the national guard – they’ve got them all. We had three of them objecting all at the same time!
Who is trying to bring the whole truth to you? Is it AEG? Or do they think they can convince you that it’s all Michael? Michael is a bad person, he took Demerol in 1993 and he did this in 2002, okay? They want you to not like Michael. Is that what this case is all about? That you don’t like Michael? And that he was criminally charged? And that he didn’t have any money and all that?
What does that have to do with AEG negligently hiring, retaining and supervising Dr. Murray? What does it have to do with it? Nothing.
Next. I told you at the beginning of the case – it is a case about shared responsibility. We are not running from it. Michael paid the ultimate price. He is not here any more. Sure, he took propofol, but remember, remember – every time he took propofol he didn’t die, until one thing happened. An unfit, an incompetent doctor in a conflict of interest situation did it in an inappropriate setting, okay?
So he died from propofol from Dr.Murray – there is no question about that. But he’s paid the ultimate price. His family has admitted that he had some responsibility and that’s for you to determine. But they , they accept no responsibility.
Dr. Murray – we know that he has been held responsible. It’s been determined what he did and he is paying his price, but they want to escape right free, get all their money back, come here and say: “Hey, we know the jury are not going to do that, man. We are AEG Live, we can do this. They are not going to impose liabilities on us. Let’s look at Michael Jackson. Or look at his mom – she wrote a letter to People magazine, she is a terrible person.” That’s what the want you to do.
They say: “Just answer that question “No” and you could go home.” They don’t want you to look at all the evidence, at all of the law after five months. They want you to know “We didn’t hire him”, despite the fact that their CEO said it before there were any lawyers, there were any lawsuits, when he knew that there is no written contract, within days of Michael Jackson’s death – but we are not to believe that and argue to that… So come on.
I mean they think they can hoodwink you. I mean that’s why we are here. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here.
AEG Live, they are the ones accepting no responsibility. And let’s talk about corporate responsibility – that is just as important as personal responsibility. Today in our society, everyone says people don’t take responsibility for their acts. How about corporations? Do you think they all are taking responsibility for their acts? Do you think that is happening in today’s society?
The only way the Jacksons family can be on equal footing with AEG Live is in the jury system. We cannot compete with them – their size, all the people they have. The only way is twelve people fairly picked. Think about it – when you came down here, and you got that summons, did you think you would be on the jury to decide this case? No way. Some of you gave up assignments, you’ve missed vacations, you had a change of your whole life. You came down here and said: “Okay, I’m a good citizen, I’m going to do this”. But did you think you signed up for this? Nobody did.
But did any of you try to get off and leave? No. You know why? Because you believe in the system.
Even though it cost personal hardship to each and every one of you, and I appreciate that, but this is the only place that is a level playing field where Michael’s mother and children can be on the same level playing field as AEG. This is it.
AEG lawyer’s objection: It is legally improper to comment on the corporate status of the defendants in the closing argument.
Mt. Panish: Here we go, who is bringing you the truth?
Mr. Panish: See? Like I told you. Who is bringing you the whole truth? You saw it throughout the trial, how three lawyers were objecting at the same time… you know, come on (shaking his head).
Objections… They object, they prepare, with the jury consultant has been here every day from the beginning…. This is a scripted performance by AEG Live that they want to get away with it. That’s what it is. And you heard Mr.George, the last witness. I called him and asked him, and he said “Corporate responsibility and accountability are very important issues in the society today”. And they are. That’s what you are going to assess, personal responsibility, that’s important and what, doesn’t it apply to corporations? Corporations are made up of people.
So what is the truth here, really? The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Remember, we only have to prove this by “more likely than not”, okay?
This is Mr. … the AEG Live lawyer. “All of those emails, trust me, there are a lot of emails I’d love them not be here. Oh, we just gladly turn them over…” They didn’t gladly turn them over – we got to have a court order to get those emails.
They were not voluntarily producing anything in this case. You saw how they defended this case… But they want you to believe what Gongaware and Phillips said and not what they wrote in those emails. “There are tens of thousands of emails.” But where are those emails that say something different? That’s another lawyer-created defense. Part of the script and they hope that you go for it.
I want you – if you could – to write down what I consider the key emails in the case. First is where Dr. Murray is saying that there is an agreement – “per our agreement”. “Trouble at the front” – you guys, probably know it better than I do with its numerous chains. ”We check everyone out”, “Remind him who is paying him”… I didn’t write these emails. These aren’t my arguments! This is written before there is any lawsuit, before Michael is dead, before the lawyers are involved.
[Then the email] that Murray and Phillips are in charge of rehearsals. I didn’t do that – they did that. That “Michael is thin and skeletal”, I didn’t write that – they did.
That “he is a freak” – I love that. Mr. Trell and his other lawyer friend referred to Michael Jackson whom they entered into a multi-million dollar deal with to build up their arena as a “freak”. That’s how they think about him. Did you hear an apology from anyone about that? Did you hear Mr. Trell get up here all the days he’s been here and say “You know what? We really didn’t mean it to say. It’s not a nice thing”. He never said that. And they tried to defend that until the end – “Michael Jackson is a freak”. They should be ashamed of themselves. They are not though.
Make no mistake, AEG is a moneymaking company, and they wanted to make money. “Freak”, whatever – they don’t care. They don’t care about the person, they don’t care about the individual – all they care is how much money this “freak” is going to make for them. That’s what they are all about. [Other emails] “Stall Murray”, “Gross versus net”.
These were all written by AEG and of course, none of them even remember writing this! “Ten thousand emails”. You think that if a guy got an email about the star of the show who they could not do the show without, and they had $35 million in it, they might remember writing the email? “Maybe”? Come on…
What are they trying to do? They are trying to hoodwink you, okay? You are going to go for it? Michael is a bad person, Michael chose the doctor (we’ll get to that), but these are their emails – not mine, not my arguments, I didn’t hear them explain any of those. They don’t want to bring up the “freak”, they don’t want to bring up “we check everyone out” or to explain Kathy Jorrie’s 10 minute Google search [on Murray].
It’s not right, ladies and gentlemen. And it’s not responsible and it’s not right. And it would not be the right thing to believe Gongaware and Phillips and allow them to skate down the street and click their champagne glasses down at AEG Live.
This is an instruction on witnesses – you can believe all or part or none of the witnesses’ testimony. You decide that – not me, not them – you. You saw them, you have common sense. … We haven’t got a film of everything, but we got emails. You decide.
And what’s reason for Ms. Jorrie – why would she have the tendency not to tell the truth? Because it’s her firm, the biggest client, they are getting all this money from AEG Live. Do you think she might want to shade it a little for AEG? “Just a little?” Come on…
And if a witness testified deliberately untruthfully, you can choose not to believe any of it – like Ms. Jorrie: “I never told the police officer that”. Okay, I‘ll bring them in, I did, we’ll see that.
They think it’s funny. Over there they are smirking. That’s funny… That’s not funny! Is that bringing the whole truth? What we have here is just some of the answers that were played at trial. Just some. Of these individuals that they want you to rely upon in this case. And they think it’s funny… “Oh, that’s the Brady bunch. Ha ha ha”. I don’t think that’s funny, and I don’t think you think it (Mr. Panish is playing the tape of different AEG executives saying “I don’t know).
Trell: I don’t know.
Phillips: I don’t know.
Lieweke: I don’t know.
Gongaware: Uh, I don’t remember.
Phillips: I don’t remember.
Lieweke: I don’t remember it.
Gongaware: I don’t remember this email.
Phillips: I don’t remember receiving this email.
Lieweke: I don’t remember this specific email.
I’m not going to go through every one of them. That gives you a little flavor. Those are the people that they want you to base your verdict on. Is that bringing you the whole truth? “Oh, we the AEG, we want the whole truth”. Really? Really? Come on.
Mr. Phillips – what’s his main job? To protect the financial interestsof the company. That’s his job. He’s concerned about it. Why would he deny all this information? Ask yourself – why would somebody in a deposition, under oath and in court deny that they knew about something? Wouldn’t you think that if you are the CEO – and it’s not like some underling wrote the emails – he wrote the emails. It’s not like someone working underneath wrote them – he wrote the emails, Gongaware wrote the emails.
Then he says “Company is people, we make mistakes, no kidding”. They are people, they don’t want to accept any responsibility. Zero responsibility.
Then I asked him, “Did you rely on your attorneys to prepare for the deposition?” “No, I didn’t prepare for it”. Wow, so here you are in a Michael Jackson case, you are not just going to prepare, you are a CEO of a large company? Then I said: “So it wasn’t necessary?” And he says, “No, I didn’t feel – they felt, my lawyers, that it would be better if I went in without doing any preparation with them”.
Is that looking for the whole truth, ladies and gentlemen? Did they stand up here and tell you: “They want the whole truth” and yet they tell the key witnesses – all you got to do is run a search for [emails about] Murray, you’re gonna get them, there are not so many – they are like nine key emails, and they are gonna tell a witness to come to a deposition and don’t be prepared, and is that someone that is trying to give you the whole truth? Come on – you’re not going to fall for that.
And Mr. Gongaware – same thing. “Do you think it was in your best interest, when preparing for your testimony under oath in this case in December, not to review any emails and not remember about them?” Answer: “I relied on my attorneys’ advice – so yes, I think it was in my best interest.“
So it is in the best interest of him and AEG Live to remember nothing! Is that someone that wants to bring to you, ladies and gentlemen, the whole truth? “I don’t remember anything”. You know, come on.
Then deposition that we played was substantive evidence, it’s the same as if you are testifying in court, it has no difference and they know that. They are experienced lawyers and they know that if you testify in one way and then you change it, you are going to look… you’re going to be impeached and you are not going to be credible, but they chose to go that route. Why do you think they would that?
How about this one? I love this one. Mr. Meglen. “So Celine Dion, in your opinion, is a bigger than Michael Jackson?” “In my opinion Celine Dion is right up there with Michael Jackson, yes. And, to me, she is bigger.” Now, that’s not that big deal in this case, right? But this shows you how far they will go to say what’s convenient to them when they think it hurts them.
And how about this? Do you have to remember the truth? Is the truth something like “Let me remember what the truth is. I don’t remember that…”. Is it hard to remember what the truth is? Or is it hard to remember what the story gonna be? On Michael Jackson who is not looking good, who is having problems, people are telling you he is dying, and you’re not going to remember?
You know they say “He who seeks to deceive, what a tangled web they weave… Why do they do that? Why do they do that?
(playing an episode from This is it, where Meglen says “The right thing for Michael to do is play public again and kind of reclaim his throne as the greatest entertainer of all time”)
“The greatest entertainer of all time”, but “Celine Dion is bigger”? That’s what they said in the This is it movie. By they way, they made the movie and they are going to rely on something they made after the fact, stories the executives made up after they testified one way.
How about this one? “Mr. Meglen, Was it better than the demand for any other show you’ve ever seen in your life?” Answer: “It was… no…We’ve sold as many tickets on Voodoo Lounge in one day… in terms of the number of tickets sold in a day, sure, we’ve done those kind of numbers before..” Okay, that would lead you to believe – not a huge deal, right?
Okay, is that a reasonable interpretation? Okay, it was good, but not the best, right? But what does he say before there is any lawsuits, before there are any lawyers and this trial? What does he say in the movie? (playing the video where Phillips says: “This was at a stratospheric level. It was at the level we’d never seen before”).
“Stratospheric level that we’ve never seen before”. They say it, this is in the film before. Now he has got a different tune. Are you going to believe them?
Mr. Phillips – this is what Mr. … the AEG Live lawyer told us: “Randy Phillips is a shmoozer, artist relations. It is because he loves music, he loves the music business, he loves the artist and he loves shows“. That’s how they portrayed him at the beginning, in his opening statement, remember that? That’s what he said. Let’s see what Mr. Phillips said when I asked him that: “I don’t particularly love music. That’s not why I got into it. I love the deal.” I love the money, I love the deal.
Music? Artists? Did he say “I’m going to help artists, I really love music”? Did he say that? No way, because he says – you saw him – he doesn’t care. You saw his attitude when he was testifying… Come on. They want to say I’m making fun of him… You know what? I’m not going to believe anything he said. And he was impeached more than any witness and …
Objection: Objection, your honor. It is improper for counsel to omment on his own personal belief.
Panish: That’s what he was doing all day yesterday (pointing at Putnam).
Panish: Okay. You shouldn’t believe anything he says.
(AEG lawyers laugh)
That’s funny. They think that’s all funny, right? This is the CEO of their company. That’s funny for your CEO to come up there and not remember anything? That’s funny on somebody that died? Is that funny? I don’t think you think it is, ladies and gentlemen. Who is bringing you the whole truth here?
They say whatever they can whenever it is convenient. Let’s take a look. They want you to see the movie “Oh, watch the movie. The movie is going to prove everything”. Who made the movie? AEG Live. Who produced the movie? AEG Live
Randy Phillips: “Make sure we take out the shots of MJ in the red leather jacket at the soundstage where the mini movies were being filmed. He looks way too skeletal.” Does it say that they knew or should have known something about MJ’s condition? That’s exhibit 638-115. Does that movie accurately portray Michael that they want you to rely on?
Let’s look at the next one. Mr. Ortega. I asked him: “Sir, you were involved in reviewing the footage and I think you call it editing”. Ortega: “Yes”. “Was the intention of the film to show how Michael was performing during the rehearsal?” They want you to see how great he was. But look what he says: “That wasn’t my intention as the film-maker. I mean, of course I wanted Michael to look great always.” So they want you to look at an edited version with dubbed sound to say “He was fine!”. This is something that they made.
Let’s continue to look, here is another one. This is what they don’t want you to see. Mr. Gongaware: “”We’re okay with the band, singers and dancers doing the interviews now. The only thing we ask is that they keep it positive and stress that MJ was active, engaged, and not the emaciated person some want to paint him as being.”
They don’t want the truth. You’ve got to do a positive, controlling people all the time, because that’s what they do. .. I didn’t write these emails. And Ms. Faye, we asked: “Were you involved? What was your understanding what you were asked to come and do?” Faye: “To come and help retouch the footage”. “Did you do that?” Faye:” No, I did not, sir. It was a lie. I didn’t want to lie, sir” “What do you mean?” Faye: “Everyone was lying after he died, sir. That Michael was well, while everyone knew he wasn’t, and I felt retouching to Michael was just part of that lie”.
So they want you to rely on something that they edited, that they tried to make Michael look as good as he could. There wasn’t an intent to show how he was performing, but prove that he was fine. Is that bringing you the whole truth?
How about this? Another thing I want to talk about – This is from Randy-, (Karen Faye.’s email to Randy Phillips) : “ Hi Randy, I don’t know who the video crew was at rehearsals but I saw them shooting Michael at his worst on the day he was shuffling and wrapped in a blanket. I told Kenny to make sure that they didn’t / wouldn’t shoot him like that. Be sure he wasn’t aware they were shooting him and would be careful in the future and it is disconcerting that the footage exists.“
Karen Faye wanted Michael to look good. She wasn’t trying to prepare for a lawsuit . And what does Kenny say what does Randy Phillips say? “We control all the footage and it is locked in a vault at Staples Centre. Did he say no, no we are going to do an accurate depiction, we are going to show him wrapped in blankets when he wasn’t doing good? Did he say that ? No. This is “We control it all and its locked in a vault”. There it is: “We control all it is locked in a vault.” Does that sound like people that are trying to bring you the whole truth? AEG: “We want the whole truth we are not afraid of the truth “.Okay. Actions speak a lot louder.
That footage didn’t make it into the movie. And Michael doesn’t look good in the movie anyway! But they wanna think you are going to buy that.
Then I asked Mr. Philips: “Did Michael ever perform the whole show? Randy Phillips: “No”. Panish: “He never saw all the show’s dance?” Randy Phillips: “No he wouldn’t have. They weren’t ready for that”.
So at the time he died – we could have 2 weeks to go London – he wasn’t even ready to go through the show. But they kept pushing forward and pushing forward.
Then, Mr eh AEG Lawyer said yesterday regarding supervision: “They aren’t supervisors. You heard from Mr. Trell and Ms. Young that independent conractors are uncertified as supervisors and plaintiffs didn’t give you any evidence otherwise.” OK. That’s the defense. “We don’t have to supervise”, right? But they are saying, Mr Trell said that . He says that. OK. They misstate the law continually because here is the law – that’s not true, here is the law.
401 instruction: “A person hiring, supervising, retaining another has a duty to exercise reasonable care. In doing so if a person is negligent, he or she does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in the same supervise.”
In this case you are to evaluate if AEG acted negligently. Only in connection with plaintiff’s case.. AEG negligently hired, supervised or retained. That’s a legal duty imposed by the law, but they say, “We don’t do it so we don’t have to follow the law because we are AEG. We don’t have any duty to do that”, but that’s not what the law says! They are trying to tell you things that just aren’t true.
Here’s another one. Mr Panish (it is 50 times they say that. My mom has never seen me called miserably she’d call me a lot. But not nicely?) Mr Panish told you yesterday that the figure is $59 million, he said that a couple of times. “That was made up”. He made it up (pointing at Putnam). Ok, I made it up, right? I made it up, that’s what he told you! I wrote it down – I saw you do that, I wanted to jump up! What could I do? Well, let’s see what the evidence says.
Remember that guy, Mr. Ackerman? They paid about nine hundred thousand dollars to [him] who… I said, okay, Mr. Ackerman, let’s get to your figures and I want you to do some calculations. Mr Ackerman: “I do not have my calculator. I can’t do it. I am not ready to do that. Dr. Formuzis could do that, but I don’t know, I can’t do that. I don’t know.”
Well, here’s the evidence. He says, “He made it up”. Now I am big, I can protect myself, but that’s not right for the family – to be making attacks on the lawyers saying they are making things up in court. Come on. Is that bringing you the whole truth? Here it is – exhibit 1960 and there are 3 exhibits of his calculations (pointing to the table of AEG’s calculations of loss of support ONLY! No calculation of loss of earning capacity. AEG’s figure of loss of support is $59,874.000).
(reading from the table): Twelve million eight hundred and seventy four ($12,874,000), fifteen million six hundred and eighteen ($15,618,000), fifteen five seventy two ($15,572,000), fifteen eight ten ($15,810,000). Check it out. Check me out on that ok? He (Marvin Putnam) called me a liar.
Ms. Stebbins Bina: Objection.
Judge : Is this in evidence?
Judge: Ok, overruled.
Panish: Yes, it is in evidence! “I just made it up” – poof, poof. Exhibit 12960. And there are 3 of them 153, 160, 157-008. Poof! “I just made it up!” Who is bringing you the truth ladies and gentlemen?
I am getting – I have passion.. I am sorry but I am getting .. But it’s not fair to attack someone – a lawyer that’s been an advocate for a client and say they made it up! It just not true! They will say anything when it is convenient! Ok? Go look at those exhibits, you add it up and you see if I made it up or not, okay ? You add it up! I just made it up – poof!
Here it is 59 874. Next… And I say this because I remember all the important things he got wrong yesterday. Mr. (?) numbers from AEG. Another attack and you wrote it down… not everybody. People wrote that down, right? What is the truth? Here it is – right here, AEG live did the projections: $108 a ticket. Mr Erk: “$108 a ticket, 1.6 shows per weeks”.
And here is the testimony, Briggs testimony: “1.6 shows”. Both of them: Attendance – 55,000 for Briggs, 49,000 for Erk. These figures [are from] AEG, ok? I am going to talk about that for a minute here.
They say “Oh, oh, he was never going to do a world tour!” On the one hand they say, but then they wanna say that he is going to do a 10 year world tour. First of all this is not 10 year world tour, but 37 months, OK? So that’s another mistake. But if Michael Jackson had proper care ..
Remember, he was fine when they met him. He did the physical, he was doing fine – till the pressure started creeping in on him and he couldn’t sleep and Dr Murray broke his oath because of the conflict. I have explained that to you. But if he had proper treatment – if Dr Murray got a sleep doctor – proper treatment, he’d been fine because AEG had this all planned out.
They didn’t just want the O2. They were thinking big, the biggest! They wanted to make money. They are a money making machine. Mr Phillips said, “We had a 4 year plan”. There were all those emails. He denied it. I had to bring up the emails to show him, but now when it is convenient [they say]: “He would have died” or “They made it all up. 1.5 billion – they made it all up.” This is their figures…
Mr Gongaware: (5547) “It’s going to be multi city tour”. ParisJackson: “My daddy told me we are going around the world “. So did everybody make that up? Or just me? Or Just Mr. Erk? Or Mr. Phillips ? Or Mr. Gongaware ? Or Mr. Putnam?
Because then I asked Ms. Jorrie, “Did you, Ms. Jorrie tell the LA Police department – you and Mr. Putnam – that London was just the beginning and there was going to be a world tour? Remember that? She said, “Absolutely not” and assures in that lawyers testimony, “I never told that to the officer “. So I brought him in – Detective Smith. And what did he say? Let’s look at this.
“Let’s start with the statement that you wrote down on the official LA Police department form”. Smith: “Okay”. Panish: “Why don’t you read it to us? Just about the world tour?” Smith: “Ms. Jorrie and Mr. Putnam stated that this was only the beginning. MJ was to do a world tour that would last 2 to 3 years”. Panish: ”Did you actually write that down?” Detective Smith: “Yes I did.”
So was Ms. Jorrie and Mr. Putnam not telling the truth to the LA Police Department and official investigation? Or was Ms. Jorrie not telling the truth when she came to court ? The person who was first paid off 7 million dollars? What motive would Detective Smith have to make that up? And why would he have it not only in his official police report, but in his hand written notes which he saved (and usually they don’t save it). He saved his hand written notes and wrote exactly that down.
They (AEG) will tell you what’s convenient when it serves their purposes. And who is really bringing you the whole truth? And then they went on and said, “Did you describe those notes in the report?” Smith: “Yes I did”. Panish: “And tell us exactly what you transcribed”. So at first he wrote on the notes and then he wrote on the police reports – Mr. Putnam and Ms.Jorrie stated the European tour was just the beginning and that Michael Jackson was going to do a world tour that would last 2 to 3 years. So did we just make that up? Did we just make that up? Or was Mr. Putnam and Ms. Jorrie making it up to the police department?
$340 million in economic and non-economic damages and you know one thing – they didn’t dispute in this case. He (Marvin Putnam) didn’t say that was unreasonable. He gave the figures and you know why? Because he knows that in a wrongful death for the evidence in this case – they have attacked everything we said in this case – but they know that is not unreasonable for the relationship. They know it is not unreasonable. They have attacked everything except for two things – that and question 4 which I will get to which they skipped as they have to conceal it. I have to get to it.
Everything else from the beginning of the trial till today (still the objections) they are fighting . But they didn’ fight that because they know that is a fair and just verdict for these three children and for Mrs. Jackson and for what they lost. OK ? I said I invite Mr. Putnam to get up and give a different figure, if he thinks this is unreasonable. Remember that? And certainly he said a lot of – he said my name 50 times and certainly he attacked me on a lot of things, but he didn’t attack on this – 35 million in the past, 50 million in future for the children. 35 Million in the past for Mrs Jackson and similar number in the future, ok? That’s the figures. Because they know that’s reasonable. Not contested now.
The 5 questions. They said that there are only five or four of them, but let me go through them for you quickly. It’s hot up here, phew, let’s take a water break – actually electrolytes. All right.
You know in a society when you go buy something – everybody’s bought some assets – you buy a car, you could buy a house, you could buy some asset. And when you buy something you can’t go back and say, “Hey, there was this problem, there was that problem” and when AEG… They knew everything about Michael Jackson.
They say “We didn’t know”. They knew. They knew what issues he had, they knew what his age was. Mr Gongaware worked with him before. But now when they come into the court and they are supposed to pay full justice they don’t want to pay it. “Hey, hey, wait a minute – this guy was damaged! This guy, he was 50 years old, he couldn’t do this, he took Demerol, he did this”. Now when it is time to make up for justice, they don’t want it, they don’t want to pay it. Why? Why is that?
All right. Lets talk about the questions. You heard a lot about it. First AEG hired doctor Murray. I heard so much yesterday- who paid doctor Murray, who chose doctor Murray, who is doctor Murray’s personal doctor right? All that. Who asked for doctor Murray? Is that question on the verdict form? Who chose doctor Murray? Is that the question you have to answer? Did I miss it? They hired Doctor Murray. Let me tell you how. Was he unfit? Yes. Do they know or should have known that he was unfit and put others at risk of harm? Yes. They skipped forward because they could see that as the substantial factor causing death. Yes. I want to explain why to you. And this one – they did not even contest it. They conceded it, believe it or not, because how could you say that doctor Murray did not harm Michael Jackson? It’s a little tough even though they fight everything else.
Now, in considering question one, whether they hired or didn’t hire, AEG or Michael, or both could have hired doctor Murray. OK? Both. They keep saying, “Michael chose him”, “Michael – it was his doctor”, “Prince gave him some 100 dollar bills”. You know why he (Prince) gave him some $100 dollar bills? Because AEG was stiff and they did not want to pay him and I am going to show you that.
But the question is who hired him ? And it can be Michael, AEG – both and that’s what happened. I believe Michael requested him. And they say “Oh, oh, he never consented, he never consented”. But then they say, “On the other hand he requested Murray, but he never consented! He requested Murray, but he never agreed”. What is it?
Randy Phillips admitted, Tim Woolley admitted it and Mr. Gongaware admitted it. I am going to show you how. Those three facts. The CEO admitted it. There his assistant admitted it and the CEO of Concert West admitted it, ok? But we can’t rely on that. Ok? This question is not there. Whose personal doctor was he, who insisted on it. Who selected and chose Murray? That’s not the question that any how that’s a lawyer’s defense technical and show contracts and all artists.. that is not the question, OK ? He was Michael’s personal doctor. Did Michael insist that they should hire Murray? Yeah. Ok? Great. Did he choose or select? Yeah. But they didn’t have to hire him because they could have said: “No we are nor not going to hire him.” But none of those questions are on the verdict form. You don’t have to answer those questions. You have to answer, “Did AEG and Michael hire doctor Murray?”
(Randy Phillip’s video starts): “We just felt that this is his personal doctor. He wants him 24/7. And the guy is willing to leave his practice for a very large sum of money, so we hired him”. (Video stops).
Can we not rely on the CEO saying something? Mr. Putnam says “Yeah, believe that”, OK? I mean here we are hours and days on that issue. They are trying to tell you that the sky is not blue. They are trying to sell ice to people at Alaska! Come on.
I mean if you are going to fall for that, you know I think you are going to disregard all the evidence. How can he say… He never came and said that we didn’t hire him either. You know that? He never said “Oh we never hired Murray”. I was mistaken because they have no prompt coming in – that contract was mistaken, that was mistaken, that was mistaken. He never said, “I was mistaken when I gave a world wide interview within days of Michael’s death”, he never said that. Mr. Trell never came in and said that.
They didn’t show you the whole clause of this contract. He can end the contract, it is pretty simple, we don’t need to go any further, but just that everybody here believes… all the people here think that I responded . This is what he said, “Oh, Michael is responsible”. This is in the MJ contract Jan 28th: “In the event that shall Artisco be responsible for any claims of writing out or related to the negligence of willful conduct of any promoter-related indemnities, promoter breach of this.”
Now why would Mr. Gongaware on June 14th on this exhibit tell them to remind Dr Murray who he is working for and who is paying him and the standard that is expected of him if they hadn’t hired him. Do you go around, does your boss go around and tell your neighbor “Hey, remember what is expected of you. Hey, we are paying your salary “. Do they do that? Does somebody? Do you go about telling people who don’t work with you what to do, other than your kids and your spouse? But do you tell them who is paying, remember who is responsible? If you did not hire somebody?
Conrad Murray thought that he was hired because on June 28th after receiving those emails…he did not show you this: “ My contract is taking a little more time.“ The written contract. Remember in the entertainment business they are doing all these contracts. Ortega, Payne, Faye – all these people. If they had to wait till everyone had a written contract, then nothing would ever get done.
So they make an agreement orally and then they put it in writing, but that does not mean you did not hire someone or you didn‘t make an agreement. They want to get all these technical… Michael didn’t sign where he had to sign – “Oh, Michael didn’t do this, Michael insisted on that.” I mean, come on! He doesn’t have to sign for the oral or apply for that contract. So Dr. Murray says “I performed and continue to fulfill my services to the client in good faith, therefore I am asking you to deposit my fee for May and the rest falls upon you in good faith as per our agreement.” “Per our agreement“. Agreement, contract. That’s what the instruction says, that’s what Murray says – right there exhibit 232, May 28th. And not only does he say that he goes on to say the customary date which they had agreed to prior which we will see, the 15th of each month. ”By today’s date we are 13 days beyond receipt of my monthly fee. Deposit my fee in May as per our agreement.”
Did Mr. Woolley write back: “We have got no agreement, we are not paying you Murray, you are not working for us, we didn’t hire you Murray”? Mr. Gongaware, did he write and say: “What is expected of you Murray we are not paying you, Murray, but not really”. No. They knew there was an agreement. They hired Murray. With or without Michael. It is clear. The intent of the parties. There is an agreement and they owed the money, but then they wanted to stall Murray and you saw those emails more stalling games by AEG.
Now this is more of the contract which I have right here. This is exhibit 160. If there is a written agreement it supercedes any prior agreements or understanding, oral or written. Paragraph 18. So yeah, when there is a written contract you can get paid. But it doesn’t mean you did not hire someone and this shows that everyone knew that there were written oh (Panish’s error which he realised now) Oral contract that was later going to be made to this. And this agreement in fact that the artist’s condition – upon approval or consent of the artist. The written contract but Michael had already said hire him and that’s what they kept saying “Michael said to hire him, Michael said to hire him”. Michael didn’t consent to the oracle contract which he doesn’t have to. He (Michael) told him to do it and they did it. And Gongaware wrote “Done deal“, May 6th. And Murray is trying to get paid for his work of May 28th. He has worked for 28 days and of course they do not want to pay. Surprise, surprise, haan! Here we are again – they don’t want to pay.
Were there are other provisions in this contract where they show you the one with the line crossed out which is not the one signed by Murray – “perform services reasonably requested by the producer”. If you do not hire someone do they perform services for you?
Paragraph 7.2; “If it is cancelled or postponed anytime for any reason, Murray is out.‘ But then Mr Putnam told you yesterday, Murray didn’t even know that till June 16th when Kathy Jorrie sent him the first draft of the contract. Remember that? He didn’t even know that, OK? Not true, OK?
Murray needs 10 days to wind down his practice consented to the agreement exhibit no. 175 and he was done in 10 days and they said “Oh, he was living in California, living in California.. “ Sure that wasn’t right then how can he wind down his practice? He didn’t have a practice in California. Then it was to be full time and he was full time.
Now question number one – remember AEG does not have to hire Murray alone. It can be Michael and AEG. I believe that the other supports answered yes to the question one. We spend way too much time on it when the CEO of the company admits something that we have to still debate it. And that’s kind of the way the whole case has been. Whatever they admit they deny, deny, deny and hope somebody will go for it, That’s what it is. That’s what they are doing. Alright. And again as it told you, the verdict form will say, “Who chose, selected, recommended, paid Murray”. That was not the question, so please focus on the question. They hired him. Alright.
Now question two. Was Murray unfit or incompetent for the job he was hired to do? Why was he unfit and I wrote down the 3 what I think are the key points here. For question number two – number 1: the point is its not when they hired him only, it’s the entire time. OK? They want to focus on when they hired him, but it is the entire time, and then they want to focus on Michael. They say we want to focus on Michael Jackson and not Murray but if MJ is Murray’s patient and how MJ is doing, is not well, does it not raise a red flag about the physician who is supposed to be there 24/7? Ok, think about it. So it is any time, not the just the time they hired him. They do not have to negligently hire Murray. All they got to do is just to hire him.
Then he needed sleep and pain and drug dependency treatment or oversight or management – whatever you want to call it. And then as early as May they created that conflict of interest and really when you boil it all down, the conflict of interest is what caused it all. Because of Murray’s financial condition they could pull the plug on Murray. They brought in Murray because they knew they needed Murray. And they brought Murray in to keep Michael going, and now they want to act like nothing happened. The train is going down the road, they are seeing these signs and what do they do? They stop the train to see what is going on? They put more coal in to keep moving straight ahead. OK? Right here.
Number 2. Incompetent, conflict, they were pressuring Murray and they pushed back. Remember when Kenny Ortega and Bugzee – these people are saying “Hey we have got all these problem , we got all these problems “, do they go find out what is wrong with MJ? Do they go do that? No, they never found out what is wrong because they did not want to know. They did not want to know. They didn’t do anything to look into it. Would a reasonably careful person that’s retaining and supervising a doctor – the patient of the doctor is doing terrible – would they ask the doctor what is wrong with the patient? May be? What do you think?
But they should have never been even involved! Why are they getting involved in MJ’s health care? Why are they drafting a written contract that MJ never saw or asked for? Because they want to control it all. They want control. Why would they do that? No one in the history has ever done that. Why would they do that? Think about it. Why would they draft a written contract for MJ‘s alleged doctor that he chose and selected? Why? Because they wanted to be able to control doctor Murray and get whatever they wanted and get Michael because: number 1) They had no insurance. If Michael didn’t make it they could be out $35 million. Remember they could not get sickness insurance. Cancellation insurance is only 17.5 million and they were double that. And when you are in a money making business you are not in a money losing business. They were protecting as Mr Phillips says they do, the financial interests of the corporation. That’s why they wanted control of doctor Murray. And that’s why they wanted a written contract that raised the conflict.
Now number one. Remember the March press conference. Mr Philips says that Michael is “an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self loathing”; he got to slap him and put him in the shower. He is worried. And he says prescription… he is talking about the drugs or usage of insomnia and pain management, but instead there is a cardiologist to treat heart problems and ailments like the flu and the cold which he doesn’t have. So why would they do that? He was incompetent – there was no question. Now this is… Remember I said Mr AEG yesterday told you that doctor Murray never knew that the contract could be cancelled anytime before June 14th, remember that? That doctor Murray never knew !
Well, on May 8th exhibit 177 it states (Judge: Mr Panish, 5 minutes before the break. Panish: Thank you your honour ) AEG contract will not cover more than 1 month in lieu of notice if there is a curtailment or cessation of the tour. So how could they come here and tell you that he didn’t know this till June 14th when he is getting an email on May 8th? How can they say that? Who is bringing you the truth? Is that the whole truth? Take a look at that exhibit 177. All the terms and fees Murray wants to get paid “per our agreement”, Gongaware was trying to tell him what to do but “they didn’t hire him and he is no agreement”.
Next question. May be this is a good time your honour and this is a long one.
Judge: Come back at 11:15.
Judge: Katherine Jackson Vs AEG Live BC445597. One thing Mr Panish. We will go into the noon hour in a little bit so you can finish and when you come back we will do the concluding instructions. So you take into the noon hour to finish. OK.
Panish: “I will need another hour…Appreciate your attention.”
[these were our preliminary notes only. TeamMichaelJackson has now obtained the full transcript of Mr. Panish’s rebuttal, so please scroll down to the bottom to see the full embedded version]
UPDATED September 27, 2013
The ABC7 Court News reports:
- Here’s our story on the jurors, who they are, what they do. http://abc7.la/1awHrYi
- We’ll be here to bring you all the details of verdict watch. Other than the 2 notes sent earlier [they asked for black and red pens, copies of independent contractor agreement, a video player and This is it documentary], nothing else requested.
- One of the jurors requested next Monday off. So deliberation resumes on Tuesday at 9:30 am PT.
- Jury has gone home for the day. NO VERDICT yet. They deliberated for 4 hours and a half today. Total of 6 and a half hours so far.
The story on the jurors ABC7 referred to is here:
Michael Jackson trial: More about the jurors
Friday, September 27, 2013
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The jury in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial was behind closed doors on Friday conducting its first full day of deliberations.
Jurors have 80 days of testimony to debate. Through court documents, they have disclosed their top priorities. They elected juror No. 6 as the foreperson, a married high school physical education teacher who lives in downtown Los Angeles.
The jurors have requested two pieces of evidence: Dr. Conrad Murray’s independent contractor agreement and a DVD copy of the “This Is It” documentary, which portrayed Jackson during the time his family’s attorneys say his health was deteriorating.
“They’re going to be looking to see what the defense has said for them to look for, is that Michael Jackson was performing very well just before his death,” said legal analyst Barry Edwards.
Jackson attorney Brian Panish urged jurors in closing arguments to dismiss the movie because it was AEG that helped produce it, showing Jackson in the best light. As for Murray’s contract, it would be the centerpiece of any argument dealing with the first question on the verdict form: Did AEG Live hire Dr. Conrad Murray?
About the foreperson, some Jackson fans have had questions about him. Two wrote a letter of complaint to the judge, which was later submitted into evidence. The fans asserted that the juror had noticeable eye contact with a female AEG lawyer. Fans interpreted it as flirting, but the judge did not.
“The judge did nothing with regards to the complaint and I don’t believe there is much importance that can be placed on that by a third party against this juror,” said Edwards.
The jurors who will decide this case are:
– Juror No. 1: A white female banker who lives in downtown Los Angeles
– Juror No. 2: A female triage nurse
– Juror No. 3: A t-shirt print businessman from West Los Angeles
– Juror No. 4: A Hispanic female customer service representative for AT&T from Whittier
– Juror No. 5: A female software engineer for JPL from Highland Park
– Juror No. 6: A white male high school physical education teacher
– Juror No. 7: A black female UCLA clinical research coordinator from Westchester
– Juror No. 8: An Asian male who works for Baxter Health Care
– Juror No. 9: A retired civil engineer
– Juror No. 10: A black male retired metal worker
– Juror No. 11: A white female retired UCLA cancer researcher
– Juror No. 12: A male DWP employee from East Los Angeles
Edwards says it’s an educated and attentive group.
“Certainly they were taking a lot of notes and they were listening to the testimony quite clearly, and I think that’s important to both sides,” said Edwards
The jury has Monday off. They will resume deliberations on Tuesday.